WPA 2011 Conference Keynote Speakers


Keynote Speakers

The keynote speakers for WPA 2011 are Chuck Bazerman, University of California, Santa Barbara; Carolyn Calhoon-Dillahunt, Yakima Valley Community College; and Barbara Cambridge, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.

July 14: Chuck Bazerman, University of California, Santa Barbara:

“You never know how American you are until you travel”

Chuck BazermanComposition grew in the peculiar history of U.S. higher education, which took a different path from its European forbears and its Latin American and Canadian sibs. The need to create leadership without hereditary elites with embedded cultures, rapid economic expansion creating needs for educated workforce, cultures of individual and political conscience based on reading and critical thought, and other factors lead to a novel restructuring of the university within which composition became a near-universal (though underfunded and under-rewarded) part of university life along with general education. In the rest of the world, teaching of writing until recently was largely absent in higher education, nor has general education had much of a role as students typically enter into specialized faculties.   With the rapid world-wide expansion and democratization of higher education in the context of a globalized knowledge economy, however, the teaching of writing in higher education now is emerging in all regions; it too grows in the local institutional structures, atmospheres, cultures, and needs.  As we learn from our international partners and attempt to share what we have learned with them, we become reminded, of what appears odd to them. The American obsessions with voice, agency, critical thought, and individual and political conscience–along with efficiency and accountability—are resources we bring to the table, but also are puzzles that are put into question.   In this talk I will reflect on the history, institutional structures and cultures of universities in this country and others, and some experiences that exposed to me our unusual profile.

Chuck Bazerman is a professor in the Department of Education at University of California, Santa Barbara. He is interested in the practice and teaching of writing, understood in a socio-historic context. Using socially based theories of genre, activity system, interaction, intertextuality, and cognitive development, he investigates the history of scientific writing, other forms of writing used in advancing technological projects, and the relation of writing to the development of disciplines of knowledge.

Chuck Bazerman hopes to contribute to our understanding of the importance of writing in all domains of modern life, and also hopes to contribute to the teaching and learning of writing at all levels of schooling, as writing is a major medium of participating in society and developing one's life with the contemporary complex literate world.

July 15: Carolyn Calhoon-Dillahunt, Yakima Valley Community College:

“Writing Programs Without Administrators:  Frameworks for Successful Writing Programs in the Two-Year College”

Carolyn Calhoon-DillahuntWhile two-year colleges are responsible for teaching approximately half of the first-year composition courses and most developmental writing courses, few two-year colleges have anything that resembles the “traditional” WPA structures in place, and thus must design, administer, and assess writing programs in distinct ways, usually with very limited budgets.  Community colleges have unique work forces, workloads, and student bodies, yet despite the challenges, many have developed effective writing programs, largely without any compensated administrative position overseeing the program.  After providing an overview of the two-year college “landscape,” particularly those elements which make typical WPA work difficult, I will describe the methods, both formal and informal, that two-year college faculty use to make their writing programs work, occasionally with administrators, but mostly without, drawing on the work done on placement, curriculum development, and assessment on my own campus as well as that done by two-year colleagues published in TETYC, presented at CCCC, and/or observed in my role as TYCA Chair.  These strategies, often very collaborative and consensus-driven, provide a framework for how to think about the role of WPA in the two-year college and how to develop and maintain cohesive and successful writing programs in settings very distinct from the ones in which CWPA originated. 

Carolyn Calhoon-Dillahunt is current Chair of TYCA (and formerly TYCA Secretary) and also serves on the CCCC Executive Committee and NCTE Executive Committee as well as a variety of sub-committees on each Executive Committee, including the Dual Credit-Concurrent Enrollment Committee.  She is a frequent presenter at regional TYCA conferences, CCCC, and NCTE and a reviewer for TETYC.

Carolyn Calhoon-Dillahunt did her graduate work in Composition and Rhetoric at Washington State University and currently teaches English at Yakima Valley Community College in Washington State.  She primarily teaches developmental writing, but also regularly teaches courses in argument, research writing, public speaking, and American literature and has been involved in learning community work. She is a past Writing Center director of the YVCC's Grandview satellite campus and continues to volunteer as a writing consultant since moving to the main Yakima campus three years ago. She is also actively involved in assessment, both writing program assessment at the department-level and institutional assessment. Prior to teaching community college, Carolyn taught at the middle and high school levels.

July 16: Barbara Cambridge, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis:

“Balance and Boundaries: Legislative Decision Making about Education”

Barbara CambridgeLack of balance currently inhibits effective decision making about education at the federal level. Legislators too often frame alternatives as either/or: ideal vs. real, preferred vs. possible, common good vs. ideology, commitment vs. compromise, evidence vs. opinion, and confrontation vs. civility, which exemplifies the dichotomies that interfere with well-reasoned policy making.

Based on her experience in Washington, DC, where she directs the National Council of Teachers of English Washington office, Barbara Cambridge will analyze what she sees and experiences while building alliances and advocating for support for literacy. One case in point will be the effort to place writing on an equal footing with reading in K-12 legislation. Cambridge will also suggest ways that WPAs can help shape their own and their students’ research and writing to help restore evidence as a basis for decision making.

Barbara Cambridge has observed, studied, and sometimes influenced policy decision making as a public school teacher, a university professor, a university administrator, a member of a state higher education commission, an officer of a national higher education association, and a lobbyist for a specialized content association. Having been president of WPA, president of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and a commissioner for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Cambridge now serves on the boards of the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation, the Washington Internship Institute, and the Irish National Academy for the Integration of Research and Teaching. Her latest publications emerged from her work with over 200 campuses during 12 years with the Campus Program of the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and her work as co-leader of the  Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research:  Campus Progress: Supporting the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning; Electronic Portfolios: Emerging Practices in Student, Faculty, and Institutional Learning; and Electronic Portfolios 2.0: Emergent Research on Implementation and Impact. Cambridge is professor emeriti at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.

P.S. Ask her about her grandson.